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Tim Martinez: Camas girls basketball earned their No. 1 seed

High school sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: February 20, 2024, 6:05pm

Selection Sunday for high school basketball in Washington usually comes with some surprises.

But for the Camas girls basketball team, the surprise was the good kind.

For a second consecutive season, the Papermakers are the No. 1 seed in the Class 4A state playoffs.

On one hand, it makes perfect sense. Camas reached the state title game last season when it was the No. 1 seed, and the Papermakers returned basically the same roster this year as they had last season.

But Camas also brings an 18-6 record into the state playoff, and I thought that fact would be enough to sway the seeding committee to drop the Papermakers to No. 2 or No. 3.

I’m sure there are people around the state looking at that record and are wondering why an 18-6 team is the No. 1 team in the state.

But that is a superficial take.

On deeper inspection, anyone can see that Camas got ready for another state title run by playing some of the best teams in the nation, not just the state.

The Papermakers’ six losses came against top teams from Northern California, Southern California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Oregon.

So the question isn’t whether the No. 1 seed should go to a six-loss team with an RPI ranking of No. 9. Rather it should be if other top RPI teams like Woodinville, Kamiakin or Sumner would have a better record than Camas if those teams had played the Papermakers’ schedule.

That’s a question RPI can’t answer. In fact, it’s a question RPI can’t even ask.

The seeding committee asked that question, and in the end, answered it by putting Camas at No. 1.

There is a consolation to those other three teams seeded in the top 4.

The path for all four of those teams to claim a state championship is the same. It requires four more wins.

And if a team’s goal is to win a state championship, that team should be prepared to beat any other team in the state, no matter what order those teams may come.

The work to that goal starts this weekend.

Elsewhere, the Mark Morris boys, Columbia River girls and Seton Catholic boys earned spots in the top brackets, which means a guaranteed spot to the Yakima SunDome next week.

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Mark Morris is the No. 6 seed in 2A and will travel to play No. 3 North Kitsap on Saturday in Tacoma. It’s a tough matchup for the Monarchs. But they are one of the hottest teams in Class 2A and are a scary matchup for North Kitsap.

The River girls are guaranteed a trip to Yakima as the No. 8 seed. That’s the good news. The bad news is the Rapids have to travel to take on No. 1 and defending state champion Ellensburg on Friday.

The Seton Catholic boys are in a similar position as the No. 7 team in 1A. The Cougars will travel to Lynden to take on No. 2 Lynden Christian on Saturday.

Battle Ground High School will again be a showcase for high school basketball this weekend.

On Friday, the Ridgefield girls are the No. 9 seed and will face No. 16 Kingston at 6 p.m. That will be followed by Seton Catholic vs. Eatonville girls at 8 p.m.

The Seton girls were probably hoping their 18-5 record would warrant more than a No. 12 seed. But then you consider that Montesano, the team that beat the Cougars for the District 4 title on Saturday, only merited a No. 11 seed.

The bigger head-scratcher for Seton is that the Cougars will face No. 13 Eatonville, a team Seton beat less than two weeks ago in the district semifinals. Come on, seeding committee. The state playoffs should mean facing a team from another part of the state and not a February rematch.

On Saturday, the Battle Ground tripleheader starts at 2 p.m. with No. 11 Skyview facing No. 14 Woodinville in a 4A boys game. Camas girls face No. 8 Gonzaga Prep at 4 p.m., and then No. 12 Columbia River meets No. 14 Enumclaw in a 2A boys game at 6 p.m.

And the do-and-die Camas boys basketball team face another elimination game when the 13th-seeded Papermakers play No. 12 West Valley-Yakima on Friday at Yakima. The Skyview girls are the No. 16 seed and will travel to play No. 9 Lake Stevens on Friday.

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Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator at The Columbian. He can be reached at tim.martinez@columbian.com, 360-735-4538 or follow @360TMart on Instagram and X (Twitter).

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